The NHL has gone through some major ups and downs over the years, but hockey fans across the globe can agree that the league has never been more popular than it is right now. In fact, anyone who disagrees with that fact obviously hasn’t tuned into the Winter Classics of recent years. The outdoor hockey games are getting better by the year as the first 2014 edition was no exception.
In front of over 105,000 people, the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings in a 3-2 game that ended in a shootout. Michigan Stadium played host to this prime-time NHL rivalry as the “Big House” surely has never seen so many fans crammed in the historic stadium.
While the hockey game only lasts a few hours, the legacy of these Winter Classics is something that NHL fans young and old will never forget. The idea of playing an outdoor game outside may seem trivial, but the NHL has definitely capitalized on the nostalgia these outdoor battles bring to the table. And while some may say all of the Winter Classic games are the same, each contest really has its own flavor.
In fact, the game-time temperate was 13 degrees with a wind chill of zero on Tuesday in Michigan. The average temperature of the previous five Winter Classics was 39 degrees, and the average attendance was 53,045. Needless to say, the NHL is growing at a rapid pace and the Winter Classic event is a big reason why the sport is on the incline.